We are going to have a GREAT life together! -Margaret McNally, May, 1986
Backed up in the inevitable traffic that clogs every parking lot at Christmas, I watch as two people go at it over an empty parking space. Though my windows are up, I can still make out the heated exchange that ends with one of the individuals screaming Happy %#?+* ing...Holidays!!! So much for Peace on Earth, Good will toward men. Though not involved in the ruckus my attitude is almost as dreary. It's been a challenging year and I have a number of things I could gripe about without any encouragement at all. Thirty minutes later I am in the checkout line at my favorite Austin Whole Foods Store and confronted with the most cheerful checkout person on the planet. As I stand there, we get caught up in some funny banter about how much fun it really is during the holidays and my mood completely changes. As the woman finishes bagging my items, she says," The only thing I really have control over is my attitude and I am very happy in spite of things to the contrary in my life". At this point, two of her co-workers laugh and only half jokingly agree that she is often so happy, it can sometimes be irritating to everyone around! I really start laughing at this point because I have had the same effect on co-workers too!
Driving home, stuck in the barely crawling traffic on Barton Springs Rd. I have a chance to enjoy the view of the Zilker Park Christmas Tree. About that time, Hayes Carll's bitter sweet song Grateful for Christmas, about the holiday and family antics starts playing on the radio and I slowly begin to realize just how grateful I am, not only for Christmas but an abundance of good things in my life. As I type this I am cognizant of the fact that there are times when I really don't want to hear a bunch of positive malarkey so...if you are not really in the mood, you better stop reading now. They say that attitude is an inside job and I know for a fact that the checkout lady at the store was absolutely right. No matter what goes on in the world, I have the ability to either get wound up in negativity or choose a different path. I've known it for years but need a gentle reminder now and then.
This year also marks the 25th Christmas I've shared with my wife; we also celebrated our 25th anniversary this past May, 25th. It's something that I can't quite explain but I have to say that of all the gifts I've received over the years, Margaret is the best thing that ever happened to me. The quote at the beginning of this post is something she told me the day before we got married and in the long run, she was absolutely correct. Though she is a very private person, I decided to make this blog post, my Christmas card to her this year and hopefully she will like it. She recently told me that K.T. Oslin's, Hold me is one of her favorite songs about marriage and like many relationships and families, we have faced all kinds of challenges and somehow managed to survive together and prosper. Of course, in The Book of Love perspective changes daily and in all relationships it varies from day to day. Ask her about how long we've been married and the answer will range for 25 years to twenty five THOUSAND years...depending on the circumstances! So...my wish for you this Christmas is that, no matter what is going on in your world (and yes, there is plenty to be seriously concerned about) you take a few moments and make a mental gratitude list about what is actually good in your life. It's gift you give yourself and you might be surprised at your outlook, even for a short time. Because after all...Love actually is...all around!
Happy Holidays, You are now free to return to any previously scheduled stress levels, if you so choose!